Time Dilation

Discussion in 'It Happened to Me!' started by Richard Dale, Nov 26, 2016.

  1. EnolaGaia

    EnolaGaia I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...

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    Yep. That's my explanation for total life recall (TLR) incidents - which I've experienced (and reported here on FTMB) more than once. A complete TLR replay takes less than 2 or 3 seconds in 'real' time, but subjectively feels like sitting through an entire movie.

    There is no ethical means for inducing a TLR, because it requires both a conclusion that 'this is the end' and situational helplessness to be triggered.
     
  2. XBergMann

    XBergMann Fear not, I mean no harm to your planet

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    I recall listening to F1 driver Nigel Mansell being interviewed by Murray Walker back in the late 1980s about how it was possible to drive a 1500bhp F1 car at 180mph towards a corner with a competitor just behind, a competitor just in front and someone trying to overtake round the outside while not crashing, applying the brakes and looking for an overtaking position all in a split second. I might add that in those days there was no traction control and gear changing was with a foot clutch and a gearstick

    Mansell replied that he just slows everything down in his mind which gives him more time to work out what to do while in reality everything whizzes along in real-time.

    He implied that he could bring on his own personal time dilation.
     
  3. terracuk

    terracuk Fresh Blood

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    I recall a similar thing happening to me ref avoiding a car accident many years ago.

    I was travelling in the outside lane of a dual carriageway at 40mph in heavy rain - the road ahead was clear and went on for about a mile before reaching a roundabout where I needed to turn right. I probably was going too fast for the conditions as there was a lot of surface water but being young and invincible... A car pulled out of a side street over the carriageway to turn into the oncoming two lanes. He obviously didn't notice me coming and he blocked my outside lane with most of his car whilst he paused for his break in the traffic coming the other way. I hit the brakes and just aquaplaned straight towards him. I must have had literally 3 seconds before I hit him at 40mph T bone into the side of his rear passenger door.

    In that 3 seconds time seemed to slow. I weighed up the outcomes. Smash into the side of him or yank the handbrake to try to stop were going through my mind. I chose to check the rear view mirror then check the inside lane was clear over my shoulder, I stopped braking, downed gear and jammed the accelerator to gain traction and whip my car into the inside lane and undertake his back end before swapping back to the outside lane again.

    It all seemed to happen in those 3 seconds and my mind and body must have accelerated the decision making in fight or flight mode almost instantly.
     
  4. Schrodinger's Zebra

    Schrodinger's Zebra Who put the writing on the walls?

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    I have experienced this, once, but in more mundane situations than the other stories on here. I had got off the school bus and was running along the path to my house when suddenly I tripped and fell, but as I fell forwards everything slowed right down and it took an eternity to complete the fall. The pavement got closer and closer but very slowly.

    As soon as I smacked into the tarmac, time went back to normal.

    This was when I was between 12 and 15, exact year I can't remember. But the sensation of time slowing down for me is something I'll never forget.
     
  5. kamalktk

    kamalktk Justified & Ancient

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    In sports this is often referred to as being "in the zone", at least in US sports.

    https://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/10300610
     
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  6. Mythopoeika

    Mythopoeika I am a meat popsicle

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    My mate Steve, who used to be a pro golfer, is always going on about being 'in the zone'.
     
  7. jkwatsonft

    jkwatsonft Fanning the flames

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    Xbergman, thanks for posting that. Fascinating stuff. I wonder how many other sportsman, or perhaps those with stressful "quick decision" jobs, such as ambulance paramedics are able to do this at will, or rather have trained themselves to do it at will?

    I'm aware there are conditions like having a eidetic memory or synesthesia which you just "have"; you can't switch them on or off at will (to my knowledge / understanding)... but I do remember a letter in FT that was from a girl who could "rewind" whole days in a kind of eidetic memory video player, and who said she gradually lost the ability to do this at will over time, but then suddenly "did it" one afternoon after a long break without realising it.

    Terracuk, I quoted you as that's EXACTLY the phrase I should have used; I was able to weigh up all the choices in my time "bubble" almost ruminating on what to do.

    Regards

    James
     
  8. EnolaGaia

    EnolaGaia I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...

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    Just a note for clarification ...

    Expertise in performing tasks more efficiently than (e.g.) a novice is an example of 'flow', in the sense popularized by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

    Time dilation is a subjective effect experienced by an actor.

    An expert actor may or may not experience a subjective sense of time dilation when 'in the flow'.

    My point is:

    - Subjective time dilation is not necessarily entailed in 'flow', and therefore ...
    - Achieving or exhibiting 'flow' doesn't automatically mean the 'flowing' actor is experiencing a time dilation.

    These are two distinct things that may or may not intersect in a particular actor / situation / performance.
     
  9. Carl Grove

    Carl Grove Ephemeral Spectre

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    I'm afraid that the powers that be have introduced "ethical rules" that would certainly prohibit such an experiment! Today psychologists have to reveal to their subjects a lot of information that in effect, nullifies the methodology, since what you want is that the subject doesn't know what you are really aiming at. And threatening with death or similar scenarios would be totally forbidden. What you could do, maybe, is a survey study asking people such as soldiers, firemen, policemen, etc., who are more likely to have had life threatening experiences than most of us, whether they have ever had this happen to them. I think there are studies that have found that for soldiers in a full day of combat, many tend to experience this as a much shorter period.
     
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  10. jkwatsonft

    jkwatsonft Fanning the flames

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    Thanks for that Carl, and that's an angle I'd totally overlooked. Perhaps one day, when my £10 Million Pound research grant comes through... ;)

    Seriously, I'd love to dedicate some real time to working on this.

    Thanks again, appreciate the reply.

    Regards

    James
     
  11. Carl Grove

    Carl Grove Ephemeral Spectre

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    It's great to hear someone really interested in looking into time-related phenomena. You don't need millions really, with the internet you don't even have to send out questionnaires by post, a lot of useful work could be done on the cheap! I didn't get actively involved until I lost my main job and had time on my hands -- and the most expensive thing I've actually had to pay for was a search at the local record office.
     
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  12. XBergMann

    XBergMann Fear not, I mean no harm to your planet

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    Here is our Nige expanding on the topic, I might add that this is not the interview I remember but a different one although Nige still claims to be able to control time, maybe he is a Time Lord (cue dramatic music)

     
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  13. Vardoger

    Vardoger Skeptical by nature

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    A normal human can probably separate a second into 50 frames. If someone is able to separate a second into 100 frames it may look like they're slowing time down from their point of view. Is is probably necessary for professional drivers and pilots etc. to develop this ability.
     
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  14. jkwatsonft

    jkwatsonft Fanning the flames

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    XBergMann, thanks for that, much appreciated. I'll give it a view when I have access to YouTube next.

    I've just started reading "The Labyrinth of Time" by Anthony Peake (https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00995FS22/), and although I'm finding it a bit hard-going, there's a fascinating paragraph on the whole tortoise and the hare race, and which I'd like to quote here;

    /q

    Zeno's second paradox is officially known as the 'argument of Achilles' although most readers will recognize it as the story of the race between the tortoise and the hare. In modern times it has also been called the 'bisection paradox'. This asserts that in any race the slower runner can never be overtaken by a faster one who is pursuing.

    In the popular tortoise-and-hare version there is a 100 metre race. As the hare is a much faster runner than the tortoise,it is agreed that the tortoise will be given a 50-metre start. So it is only when the tortoise passes the halfway stage that the hare is allowed to shoot off in pursuit. The hare then runs 50 metres and arrives at the point that the tortoise had reached when the hare first started to race.

    In the time it has taken the hare to run that 50 metres the tortoise has strolled another metre.

    In order to catch up with its opponent the hare has to run the additional metre. However, as it takes an amount of time for the hare to cover this additional metre, the tortoise will have already moved nearer the finishing line.

    In this model the hare can never catch the tortoise. It is continually arriving at a point in space and time that the tortoise has already moved on from.


    /endquote

    Regards

    James
     
  15. Nick Smith

    Nick Smith Junior Acolyte

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    I agree with others about time seeming to slow in a crisis.

    I was involved in a serious RTA on the M25 some years ago which saw my VW Passat written off in a head on smash at 60mph.

    A motorcycle undercut a car in front of mine in lane three causing her to slam on the anchors.

    Although I was some distance behind her I was helpless and saw her car looming larger and larger and, something that took about 2 seconds went on for ages.

    I was able to think, right, I'm going to hit this car hard and the airbag will deploy, I had time to slide back on my seat to avoid a broken nose, lift my non braking foot to lessen the chance of breaking both legs and throw the car to the right and the central reservation and crash barriers rather than spinning into the inside lanes and certain death under a HGV.

    I remember it so clearly.
     
  16. jkwatsonft

    jkwatsonft Fanning the flames

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    Thanks for this, Nick.

    Out of interest, how do you interpret what happened with regard to the time slow-down?

    Regards

    James
     
  17. Nick Smith

    Nick Smith Junior Acolyte

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    I imagine that this is a mechanism which is inherent in all of us where, with death or serious injury imminent, our primal instincts are triggered in an attempt to preserve life.

    In our evolution weve have had to contend with lightning fast predators and other humans, trying to kill us and our last line of defence is an ability to focus our entire being into one make or break moment.

    I personally think that time is, in some regards, subjectively "fluid" by which I mean that, on an individual basis, we can briefly, step outside of normal time to act in a crisis. I have absolutely no way of proving that feeling though.

    There are countless tales of, for example, soldiers or police officers who claim that...in a crisis, they are able to perform an act of self preservation or the saving of a colleague in a timeframe which defies logic.

    I have also heard of soldiers who claim to have " seen" a projectile, bullet or shrapnel, flying towards them but their bodies are too slow to take evasive action in time to avoid injury.

    I was able to react in time because I was young with young reflexes.

    These days I'd have ended up seriously damaged I fear.
     
  18. jkwatsonft

    jkwatsonft Fanning the flames

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    That's another interesting thought you've raised... I wonder what the ratio of these experiences is when the age of the person reporting it is taken into account?

    If it were possible to graph say, 1000 people who've had a like experience by their age at the time they had the experience, would you see a sharp declining trend as the age increases? Do adolescents / children ever experience it (notwithstanding the whole childhood feeling that minutes / hours / days seem to take forever to pass) in the sense that they recognise it as something different and not the norm.?

    Opens up even more questions... would older people feel less inclined to report it and so on and so on...

    Regards

    JKW
     
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  19. Vardoger

    Vardoger Skeptical by nature

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    The older you get, the faster the time seems to go. Not sure if it has anything to do with the fact that one year is one tenth(1/10) of a ten year old child's life, while it is one fiftieth(1/50) of a 50 year old person's life.
     
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  20. EnolaGaia

    EnolaGaia I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...

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    This subjective effect seems to be universal. I don't know any fellow survivors of a half-century or more who don't mention, or at least acknowledge, it.

    I ascribe it to the vagaries of learning and memory. The first time one encounters X, it takes substantial effort to deal with it. Fifty years later one has encountered so many 'things-like-X' that the surprise and effort have diminished, and encounters with X elicit considerably more humdrum / routine responses based on experience.

    Phrased more simply ... The first time you wrestle with X is a big deal. The 100th time you have to deal with X it's just 'more of the known / same'. Big deals get written large in memory, whereas the same ol' same ol' hardly registers a blip.
     
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  21. EnolaGaia

    EnolaGaia I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...

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    Agreed ... Having experienced it all too many times, I can attest to the notion it's built-in.


    It's not necessary to frame things in term of an external time progression from which a crisis actor diverges. It's just as viable (and, IMHO, far more accurate ... ) to approach the evidence in terms of the subjective 'mind flow' speeding up.

    The sense of time passing involves mapping a progression of events and actions onto an abstract scalar dimension (i.e., the 'arrow of time').

    There are two basic ways to experience moving from (e.g.) 0 to 10 on time's yardstick at a non-standard or anomalous increased rate.

    One is for the yardstick to be influenced to slide past you faster than normal. The other is for you to speed up and 'see' or 'experience' the movement in increments of sixteenths of an inch rather than the usual whole inches.

    Either approach accounts for the perceived anomaly. The latter doesn't involve reliance upon an external standard.
     
  22. EnolaGaia

    EnolaGaia I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...

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    I've experienced both, and the subjective sense of time dilation is the same in both instances (i.e., whether it involves action or resignation). My canonical personal example of the latter case was watching an arrow fly directly at my left eye from a distance of only circa 20 feet away.


    The subjective time dilation effect still occurs at an advanced age, but the ability to rapidly react is naturally diminished with age. The former is a cognitive / psychological issue, and the latter is a somatic issue.
     

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